Monday, July 5, 2010

Digital croquis

Since it was my birthday a few weeks ago and I had a little bit of extra money to burn, I decided to get myself a new toy -- a Wacom Bamboo tablet for drawing on the computer. A while ago my SO saw me drawing sketches of other people's clothes in my notebook (I often get ideas for things that I'd like to copy when I see other people wearing them), and he suggested that I would be able to make good use of a tablet. I always thought these things were prohibitively expensive, but it turns out they're not so bad. I got a refurbished version of the tablet I linked to above for around $65.

One of the first things I wanted to try out with the tablet was making a digital croquis for myself so that I can try out patterns on my virtual avatar before sewing them up. I'm sure I'm not the only one in the sewing world who's guilty of looking at patterns on a model or a figure drawing and sewing based on that, without first thinking about whether or not the pattern will actually look good on *you*. Mikhaela over at Polka Dot Overload always has fantastic sketches of her clothes that give a remarkably good impression of what the outfits will look like when finished (check out this one, for example). She's a professional cartoonist and so hers are far more cute than what I'll probably ever produce, but I thought I could at least get something going that would give me a semi-realistic idea of what patterns would look like on me before I sewed them up.

Here's a few of my first takes. I made a digital croquis first by having the SO take pictures of me in my bra and underwear, and then painstakingly drawing an outline around the image to get my shape. I'm not quite brave enough to post the result on the internets since it is essentially a line drawing of my naked self, but I'll show you some of the dressed-up versions. For starters, here's a dress that I made a while ago, but I would like to remake in colors closer to these ones:Here's a Mad Men style dress that I thought would be pretty hot, and it turns out that it looks a little boring on my virtual buddy. Good thing I didn't order any double knit yet:This dress looks pretty fantastic, though. I tried to replicate the print that I bought, which is a large scale orange print of what looks like fireworks on a cream background. The drawing looks so good I'm feeling very motivated to sew it, now!And last, a more work appropriate Biketopus, in a jacket and black pants.
Pretty fun, eh? I still have to play around with the tablet more and figure out exactly how to use the thing, but I think it's been pretty useful already. The main thing that I can't figure out is how to make the lines of my drawings look smooth and not all herky-jerky. I'm not sure if I just need to work on it more to develop a more steady hand, or if it's actually a software issue. Right now I'm just drawing stuff with the pen in Photoshop, and that may not actually be the right tool for the job. I'd like to believe that it's a software issue and maybe something like Illustrator would work better for me, but maybe it's just practice. I guess that wouldn't be the end of the world, eh? I think I could spend quite a lot of time virtually sewing!